This year Kate Hill's theme for the Halloween Page is “on a cold, dark night.” Each author has been presented with the first half of a sentence that starts with “on a cold, dark night” and asked to complete it. They’re offering the beginnings of stories that range from scary to funny to put you in the mood for the season. This year we all hope to inspire you with these ideas and continue the tradition of Halloween being a night of adventure.
I was lucky enough to be included in this adventure and featured today at KATE'S AUTHOR HOME to showcase my latest release A GHOST TO DIE FOR (right on time for Halloween).
About A Ghost To Die ForContemporary Romance/Paranormal
Do you believe in ghosts? Rooney Fontaine doesn’t—or didn’t until one named Stuart Granger shows up in her hotel room. Now the humorous, yet desperate, apparition is begging her to find the men who murdered him before his brother becomes their next victim.
After serving three tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, Stephan Granger is no stranger to risk and peril. When a woman shows up at his house rambling about ghosts, murder and assassins, his first inclination is to deem her wrong in the head and send her packing. But how does she know things that happened to him and his dear departed brother in their childhoods, secrets they never shared with anyone?
Soon after he invites her in to hear more about what really happened to Stuart, gunfire splits the air and shatters all the windows in the house. Someone is trying to kill them. Now they’re on the run from assassins while trying to find out who killed his brother and why they want him dead too.
Even amid murder and mayhem, sometimes you find love.
Excerpt: (Rooney meets the ghost's brother for the first time)
Rooney turned off the engine and stepped out from the car. She advanced toward the wide front porch and sensed Stuart walking beside her. So far, so good, she thought drawing a deep breath.
Before she could form another thought, she heard a screen door near the house open and slam shut. Shielded from the harsh rays of the sun by an overhang, a man stood on the porch. Tall and lean, one broad shoulder hugged a pillar in dire need of fresh paint. A white t-shirt hugged his well-muscled torso, and faded jeans clung to his long legs like second skin. She knew if she looked at Stuart right now, he'd be wearing an I-told-ya-so grin, but she didn't want to give him the satisfaction and besides, she couldn't seem to command her eyes to stop staring at the man the ghost had called a hunk.
He had to be the ghost's brother, yet he looked nothing like the fair-haired, slender built ghost, not with the tangle of black hair covering part of his forehead, an exact match to the dark stubble on his firm, square jaw. His passive expression unnerved her, as did the blue eyes studying her with collective wariness. A bottle of Jack Daniels dangled from the fingers of his left hand while the right hand rested near the handle of a gun stuck inside the waistband of his jeans. His entire mien, from casual stance to buff build, screamed pure male sexuality. And some kind of danger she'd rather not think about.
After finding her tongue again, she eked the words out. "Good afternoon. You must be Stephan, Stephan Granger?"
"Yep, and you are…?
"Rooney Fontaine. I drove here from—"
He gave her a lopsided smirk. "Rooney, as in Mickey?"
She blew a breath of air, ruffling the damp hair on her forehead. "Yes, as in Mickey. My name is really Veronica but Vanessa, my youngest sister, couldn't pronounce—"
"What do you want Rooney Fontaine?"
Her nerves frayed, she ran her sweaty palms down her thighs. "I'm here to talk to you about your brother, Stuart."
"Reporter, huh? Like the others that came snooping around here they couldn't read very well either."
His emphasis on the last word wasn't lost on her. "Reporter? No, no, I'm not, I swear, but what do you mean 'they couldn't read very well either?'"
"The No Trespassing sign nailed to a tree by the road."
Standing beside her, Stuart scratched his head. An oversight on my part. Damn, I hung that sign, didn't count on it applying to me one day.
"Sorry, I didn't see it, but I assure you, I won't take much of your time. I'll say what I've come to say and be on my way before you know it."
Lips pursed, he continued to study her.
"I know this is going to sound crazy to you, as it did to me at first." God, this is much harder than I thought. "See, the thing is, your brother didn't commit suicide. Two men tossed him off the balcony at the La Bonne Chance Casino."
The Adonis look-alike rolled his eyes.
"He's been wandering around the hotel for two months until-well, until he showed up in my room last night."
"Right. Thanks for dropping by Rooney Fontaine but I'll thank you to haul your sweet little ass back into that car and get the hell off my land."
He thinks my ass is sweet?
Stuart piped up. I knew you were his kind of woman. Under different circumstances he might even—
"Stuff it, Stuart." Her head swimming with convoluted thoughts, not to mention words from both brothers, she shifted and faced the ghost. "This is hard enough without you speaking up from the peanut gallery."
The man on the porch cocked his head. "You talking to me, lady?"
"No, I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to—"
But I must speak up. He'll never believe you otherwise. Ask him about the scar on his left thumb. When he was six we went fishing at the Mill Pond and I hooked him in the thumb. Never shed a tear when I dug that hook out with my pocket knife.
"Not only is your sight bad but your hearing sucks." Stephan gave her a dismissive wave and pivoted toward the house. "Oh, hell, do what you want but Jack Daniels and me are going back inside to pick up where we left off."
"The scar on your left thumb," she blurted out. "Stuart hooked you at the Mill Pond when you were six. He said you never cried, not even while he dug it out with his knife."
Stephan came to a halt and turned to face her again. "You knew him, didn't you? He told you about that."
She crossed her heart. "No, I didn't know him, not until last night. He-he's standing beside me right now and told me what to say."
Blue eyes narrowed. "You expect me to believe my brother is a ghost and is here right now?"
Tell him when he was ten he had a lop-eared mongrel named Snoozer who followed him everywhere, tell him our mother's middle name was Gertrude and our father's Harrison. Stuart snapped his fingers. I know, tell him when he was eight, he stole three red licorice sticks from Brueger's Mercantile. I made him march back in there and apologize, pay for the candy. Mom and Dad never knew about that and old man Brueger is long passed on now.
"What about Snoozer, your dog?" she said with a triumphant lilt to her voice. "Your mother's middle name was Gertrude, your father's Harrison." She took several steps forward. "You stole three pieces of red licorice from Brueger's when you were eight and Stuart made you apologize. What about all that, huh?"
"This is insane, and you're really starting to piss me off."
"How about this one? Your mother loved all of Stewart Granger's films, The Man In Grey, Fanny by Gaslight, Caravan, The Magic Bow." She rocked back on her heels. "I'm right, aren't I?"
"How do you know all this shit?"
"Because your brother is standing beside me telling me what to say. Look, I know it's insane. That's exactly what I said when he showed up in my hotel room, but I swear on my mother's grave, Stuart has been stuck in some kind of limbo and is …well, he's a spirit, a ghost and can't move on until he knows you're safe."
"Why wouldn't I be safe?"
Now we're getting somewhere, Stuart said. Keep talking.
The holster of the gun glistened when Stephan descended the porch steps. Rooney shoved an arm out. "Hold on, what are you doing, and why do you have that gun tucked into your waistband?"
"Squirrel hunting." He gave her what she recognized now as his devastating grin, the one that made her knees go weak and her heart accelerate. But could she trust him? In reality, she knew nothing about the man, other than he was Stuart's brother and might be wrong in the head. "So where is he, my brother, the ghost?"
"Right here." She extended an arm to her right. "Crap, I was hoping you might be able to see him, hear him, like me."
"Sorry to disappoint you. I might be fit-shaced but I'm not…" Eyes narrowed again. "Crazy like some people."
"You mean shit-faced, and thanks so much for the crazy compliment."
"What would you call someone who showed up one day insisting your brother, the ghost, accompanied her to the old homestead?"
Inches away from her now, she looked up into his eyes. Blue…definitely blue and shining like sapphires. A rush of heat pedaled through her body and her tongue felt thick again. "Probably crazy. I get that, I do, and I didn't want to get involved in any of this. Once I saw Stuart, heard his story, I didn't know how to turn away. Believe me, I'd rather be anywhere but here right now translating for a ghost…your brother."
He cupped a hand over his brow, looked skyward and then back at her again. "That sun's a bitch today. All right, come on in. Can't wait to hear the rest of this fairytale, but when I say it's time to go, I mean it, got that?"
We're in! Stuart did a fist pump. Well played, Rooney.
Raves for A Ghost To Die For
“Do you believe in ghosts? If so, A GHOST TO DIE FOR by Keta Diablo will have you captivated while the hero and heroine deal with the fracking company who killed the hero’s brother. Great story.”
“This is one paranormal with a terrific ghost.”
“A really great story! I enjoyed the writing and the plot in A Ghost to Die For.”